It seemed like pretty much a forgone conclusion that Brandy Mann would practice law in Central Texas – for good reason. After earning her B.A. at the University of Texas in history and archeology in 1998, Mann went on to earn a Master’s Degree at Texas State University, followed by her J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law in 2006.
Those strong connections have facilitated the rise of the former Jackson Walker attorney through the ranks in the legal community to her current position as counsel at the Austin office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP.
Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
“I was in my first year of the University of Texas’ PhD program studying medieval English history when I and my boyfriend (soon to be my husband) decided we had a future together that didn’t involve me moving overseas to study or work. I couldn’t think of anything else to do with a history degree (I had tried teaching), so I applied to UT’s law school thinking I’d go if I got in, and I would find something else to do if I didn’t. I got in, deferred a year to figure out exactly what lawyers did, and started the program in 2003.”
How would you describe your practice?
“Healthcare law– primarily regulatory in nature. I represent licensed providers from individual nurses to large hospital systems. I try to keep them from getting in trouble with the government agencies that regulate them and help them get out of trouble when something goes wrong.”
What do you like most about this area of law?
“I like having the federal or state government as the adverse party. The government as an entity– unlike a private party– is predictable. It wants to regulate and bring in money. But it’s also risk-averse. I’ve found that government attorneys are usually reasonable and willing to work with private parties that are trying to comply with the law.”
What do you like most about practicing law, specifically in Central Texas?
“Austin is the natural place for regulatory work in Texas. Plus, I’ve never lived anywhere else. My family came from Germany to Central Texas in the late 1800s and never felt the need to move again.”
Seems like you have had a pretty strong concentration in history in your educational path, how has that impacted your practice?
“It teaches research and especially writing skills. A poor argument written well can trump a strong argument written poorly. I also spent a semester teaching high school history. Nothing I’ve faced as a lawyer has been as stressful as that experience.”